DuBois on Capitalism, Racism and the Struggle
In Her article, Another Look at W.E.B. DuBois, Heather Gray quotes W.E.B. Dubois:
"Work is service not gain. The object of work is life not income. The reward of production is plenty, not private property. We should measure the prosperity of the nation not by the number of millionaires, but by the absence of poverty; the prevalence of health; the efficiency of the public schools; and the number of people who can, do read worthwhile books.
Toward all this we do strive but instead of marching breast forward, we stagger and wander thinking that food is raised not to eat but to sell at good profit; houses are not to shelter the masses but to make real estate agents rich; and solemnly declaring that without private profit there can be no food or homes. All of this is ridiculous. It has been disproven centuries ago.
The greatest thinkers of every age have inveighed against concentration of wealth in the hands of the few and against the poverty, and disease and ignorance in the masses of men.
We have tried every method of reform. A favorite effort has been force by war. But the loot stolen by murder went to the generals and not to the soldiers. We tried through religion to lead men to sacrifice and right treatment of their fellow men, but the priests too often stole the fruits of sacrifice and concealed the truth.
In the 17th century, of our modern European era we sought leadership in science and dreamed that justice might rule through natural law but we misinterpreted that law to mean that most men were slaves and white Europeans were the right masters of the world.
In the 18th century, we turned toward the ballot in the hands of the worker to force a just division of the fruits of labor among the toilers. But the capitalists, happening on black slavery and land monopoly and on private monopoly of capital, forced the modern worker into a new slavery which built a new civilization of the world with colored slaves at the bottom, with white serfs between, and the power still in the hands of the rich.
But one consideration halted this plan. The serfs and even the slaves had begun to learn to think. Some bits of education had stimulated them and some of the real scientists of the world began to use their knowledge for the masses and not solely for the ruling classes. It became more and more a matter of straight thinking.
What is work? It was what all must contribute to the common good. No man has a right to be idle. It is the bounden duty of each to contribute his best to the well bring of all, of what men gain by the efforts of all have a right to share, not to the extent of all that they may want, but certainly to the extent of what they really need.
You must let the world know that this is your simple and unwavering program: the abolition of poverty, disease and ignorance the world over among women and men of all races, religions and color; to accomplish this by just control of concentrated wealth, and overthrow of monopoly to ensure that income depends on work and not on privilege or change; that freedom is the heritage of man, and that by freedom we do not mean freedom from the laws of nature, but freedom to think and believe and express our thoughts and dream our dreams and to maintain our rights against secret police, witchhunters or any other sort of a modern fool or tyrant.
The four freedoms come not by slavery to corporations and monopoly of the press, cinema, radio and television but by united social effort for the common good so that decently fed, healthy and intelligent people can be sure of work, not afraid of growing old and hold high their heads to think and say what they damn please without fear of liars, informers or sneaking FBI."